Take a break from your pre and post-holiday obligations to create these clever crafts with your child.
What to make: Trotting Turkeys
With: Your wild-animal fan
What you need: The bottom portion of one cardboard egg carton, construction paper in multiple colors, wiggly eyes, glue, and scissors. Optional: kid-safe paint and glitter glue.
What to do: Show your child how to cut out one “cup” from the cardboard carton. That’s the turkey’s face and body. (When the project’s complete, the cup will have the eyes, beak, and wattle attached to one side, and the feathers attached to the opposite side.)
Let your mini-Matisse paint the cardboard cup any color she likes. Set it aside to dry. Demonstrate how to sketch and cut out six construction-paper “feathers” and one one-inch paper circle. If your child is super-creative, let her decorate the “feathers” with glitter-glue pizzazz. Set the feathers aside to dry. Then arrange them in a half-circle so they fan out from the center of the paper circle, forming the turkey’s tail. Neatly glue the feathers in place, and glue the paper circle to one side of the cardboard cup. Fasten two wiggly eyes, a paper beak, and a paper wattle to the other side of the cardboard cup. Voilà! Watch the turkey come to life!
What kids learn: Fine motor skills, spatial reasoning, and ability to focus on the task at hand.
What to do next: Give your turkey some turkey friends; they’ll make great table decorations for a late-fall meal.
What to make: Egg-Carton Wind Chimes
With: Your future musician
What you need: The bottom portion of one cardboard egg carton; beads, driftwood, or seashells with holes already in them. Also: kid-safe paint; sturdy string, durable twine, or fish line; scissors; a pencil.
What to do: Help your child remove (either tear or cut) a four-section square out of an empty egg carton to create a four-cup structure. Have him paint it his favorite color. Let it dry.
Use a pencil to poke one hole in the center of each compartment, and one hole through the space in the center of the cups. Thread one 12-inch piece of string through the hole in each compartment and knot securely at the top. Then thread another string through the center of the wind chime and secure that with knot at the base and a loop at the top (this will be used to display). Continue to thread shells, beads, or driftwood on each string and tie a large, secure knot under each. Use the string in the center of your creation to hang your newly fashioned wind chime from a low tree branch or from a ceiling hook on your porch.
What kids learn: Fine motor and visual-spatial skills, creative thinking, and attention to detail
What to do next: Wait for the wind to blow and enjoy the tunes!
What to make: An Egg-Carton Garden
With: The nature enthusiast in the house
What you need: cardboard egg carton (one for each child), potting soil, a metal tray or cookie sheet, basil seeds, and water.
What to do: Let your child spoon potting soil into all 12 of the carton’s compartments. Sprinkle two basil seeds in each compartment. Have your child cover the seeds with soil. Moisten lightly with water. Slide the carton onto a metal tray or cookie sheet to prevent water from leaking. Place near a window for light so basil grows (ideal temp: 60–75°F). Water as needed so the soil stays moist.
What kids learn: How to care for other living things, grow their own food, and have patience as they wait for a desired result.
Keep in mind: You don’t need a lot of basil; a $2 pack of basil seeds from a local hardware store should suffice. Look for Genovese basil for pesto and Italian cooking, globe basil for salads, and Thai basil for Asian cuisine.
What to do next: Experiment with mint or parsley.